Life is all memory, except for the one present moment that goes by you so quickly you hardly catch it going.
– Tennessee Williams, The Milk Train Doesn’t Stop Here Anymore
Dear Little Sister,
I see you doing what I did very often at your age. Waiting to get to the Real World.
Waiting to grow up, have a car or an apartment, a career or a family, or lots and lots of money… or all of the above! You gaze out the open window of your bedroom window, bent elbow and hand on cheek, imagining all the possibilities – and they truly are INFINITE!
I like your dreams. You need to dream. Dream big! Your dreams are wonderful and beautiful and I encourage you to follow your heart. But I beg you… don’t wait for things or things to happen!
Dream big but don’t wait
I have a secret you may or may not have heard already. Ready? Its a secret hidden in plain sight but you will be tempted to believe otherwise until you see it for yourself.
Here it is. The real world. You know, the place you are waiting to arrive? You have arrived.
Your teachers and parents will become your bosses and supervisors. Allowances become paychecks. Curfew will eventually become I’m tired and have to get up early tomorrow – it scares you when it happens, but IT WILL HAPPEN! Do you see any major difference?
Adulthood isn’t THAT different from your world now. You will have more freedom and be on your own. You will also have every responsibility of that freedom on your shoulders. Your parents will no longer be responsible – it will be time for you to take care of yourself.
What are you waiting for?
Life is quick and so short. Why waste time dreaming instead of doing?
It is good to plan in life. Having a plan right away isn’t as necessary as it seems. It is good to set sights but they have to be flexible because you really never know what God has in store for you until you are there – when the future becomes the present.
Knowing yourself – interests, strengths, weaknesses, values – is key to finding who you are meant to be and the life you are to lead in the real world presently, right now
Know your roots and your soil. Work from there. It takes time to grow and become who you are meant to be. Entrance into the real world is not like school where you will have a big test to study for, you will be graded, and then you will graduate into the real world and have a high school degree handed to you. Your entire life is a test. A big test. High Stakes because you are very important in this world.
Life is a test with no way to cheat either. Think about it…there is no other you- anywhere on the planet! So don’t think that looking around and following the crowd is even an option. It won’t work. You won’t be you. You will be the crowd and that is boring. There is already a big enough crowd. The world needs YOU!
Seek personal achievement
Your achievement as a person is drastically different from the world’s view of achievement. Personal achievement is measured in little moments and not up to a teacher to put you against a yardstick and see how you are progressing. It is up to you to self assess if you are doing the right thing when you are an adult. As an adult, you have yourself and God to figure things out. I suggest learning to rely on Him. Most adults have trouble with this their entire life. Learning to lean on God is the greatest of any personal achievements because it is the reason we were created.
“Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks, receives; and the one who seeks, finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.” Matt 7:7-8
God has a specific plan for you. I don’t know what it is. You don’t have to know right now either. I know it will be rooted in His love, He will want you to love in order to achieve it, and He will teach you how to do this when you ask. Love is the one common factor among all of us. The way and capacity you love will be unique to the blessings and abilities He has given to you.
Here and now you have everything you need to achieve this, even if it doesn’t seem like it. Wait no longer. Start looking around and listening. Ask Him to help you see where you should be focusing your time and effort and what He has given you the ability to do now. He will lead you – sometimes where you least expected. You won’t necessarily get what you want, but you will get what you need. You will be placed where God wants you. This will be where you want to be in the end. That is the mysterious and beautiful part about our hearts and desires when they are freely given over to Him. It is liberating! Simple, difficult, and so liberating! Try it and see.
Hearing yourself think
This is hard and easy at the same time. Turn off your phone, computer, or any other device. Spend some time alone. Quiet time. Real Quiet time. You know what will happen? You will start to hear yourself think! Our loud, crazy world doesn’t let us do this often. You have to search for a quiet place. Your room, your car, your parent’s car, a park, a laundry room – and at different times of the day or week, maybe all of these places. Where ever you can be alone and really listen.
The quiet might be uncomfortable at first. There is this constant humming to the real world that you don’t notice until it’s gone – like the air conditioner or a fan when it’s finally turned off. Stick with it anyway. It is important to find quiet. If you can’t hear yourself, you will never be able to grow or find your place. And remember – you are in the real world now. So start listening!
You have great potential to do good through one very real world thing: Love. We all do. You will love as only you can and the world around you needs your love. So wake up, sleepy. Go slowing but start moving. Take time to understand who are and who you are going to be. God will provide clarity when you ask for it, and everything else you need, in His perfect time.
From my real world to your real world,
Your Big Sister